Municipalities to develop turn around strategies

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Johannesburg - All 283 municipalities in the country are to develop their own specific municipal turnaround strategy aimed at improving service delivery at local level by March 2010.

In a declaration at the end of a two-day indaba on local government, municipalities said they supported the proposal to develop specific turnaround strategies and actively implement them by involving communities and a wide range of stakeholders.

According to the declaration, the provincial governments should assist the municipalities in developing their turnaround strategies which will fit within the framework of the national turnaround strategy to be developed by the national Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

The declaration comes after a report was released at the indaba, on Tuesday, indicating that there were genuine issues of corruption, fraud, governance, financial mismanagement and nepotism at local government level.

According to the report, there was an unclear allocation of roles and responsibilities of the municipal manager, mayor and the chief whip. It also showed that there were too many opportunities for fraud and corruption to take place because of weak accountability frameworks.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Sicelo Shiceka, on Tuesday, warned municipal mayors and managers to refrain from thinking that they are bigger than the people they serve.

He said the department would act decisively against inefficiency and any form of wrongdoing by municipal officials. "If people are not doing their work, it means there is no need for such people to occupy such positions in local government. You can't be bigger than people that you serve."

The minister urged those who were no longer in touch with their constituencies to go back to their bases.

Deputy Minister Yunus Carrim said he was encouraged by the outcomes of the indaba.

"I feel that such an indaba should be held annually, but future indabas should not just monitor government progress, but the progress of all us collectively. After all, we have a responsibility to implement the national framework of the department's turn around strategy," he said.